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Author Topic: Should I drop Exclusive (istock)?  (Read 3725 times)

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« on: January 10, 2013, 11:38 »
0
I really need everyones expert advice. I have been going back and forth on dropping my exclusive to istock and was wondering if it is worth my time and effort. I have noticed a steady trend on lower returns. However, I am not sure if I could make up the difference by losing exclusive % and submitting to shutterstock and Dreamstime.

Is the lowering of returns just the reflection of the global economy or has istock lost its base?

Here is a little info:
newbielink:http://www.istockphoto.com/xacto [nonactive]

I am currently an iStock exclusive contributor since 2005. I am have the Gold Contributor level with over 23532 downloads and 350 files. I have 30% royalties for photo and 25% for illustrations.

Trends:
2008 = $12,000
2009 = $9,500
2010 = $9,800
2011 = $6,700
2012 = $5,600

Any guidance would be much appreciated!

Thanks.


« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2013, 11:57 »
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In your case I would stay exclusive, you have very high ranked background pictures on IS, such backgrounds don't get easy accepted these days and if accepted it's hard to bring them up in searches.

« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2013, 12:01 »
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Only you can decide what's best for you __ but you'll never know the truth unless you try. Istock appears to have been slowly sinking for at least a couple of years now and recent events will have just made that situation worse. Much, much worse IMHO. Speaking personally, if I were currently exclusive and relying on my Istock income then I'd be pulling my hair out right now.

Looking at your portfolio your income appears to be heavily dependent on a relatively small number of images. The danger there is that there is no guarantee that those images will be anything like as successful elsewhere.  Having said that your income has been heading south for the last 5 years anyway (and that trend will probably accelerate) so it's not so much a question of 'if' but 'when'. My advice to you would be to go for it as soon as you can afford the inevitable loss of income in the short-term. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2013, 12:04 »
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Thats what I would have said.

Stay as long as possible, in my opinion your port is not competitive outside of istock. (Im sorry to say, and maybe I am not right).

Another advice would be to leave your microstock port idle and work on other things.

« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2013, 12:11 »
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You've relied on very simple and few images for too long. It amazes me that such portfolio can bring so much money. Stay exclusive. Many of your most downloaded files will probably not going to be accepted elsewhere nowadays.

Edit: Okay, they will be accepted but will not going to get many downloads (and for less money).
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 12:15 by soundworks »

« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2013, 12:19 »
+1
Do you want to grow your portfolio and/or branch out a bit with the type of content you do? If so, definitely dump the crown. Otherwise, in spite of iStock's pitiful performance and borderline larcenous behavior (the Microsoft and Google giveaways), you might be better to just ride out whatever you can squeeze out of your existing files there.

You have a small portfolio with a pretty limited range of types of images and some of them may run into trouble getting accepted at SS and DT, at a guess. The DT issue would be similars and at SS, LCV (limited commercial value).

« Reply #6 on: January 10, 2013, 12:29 »
-1
NO, NO and NO!!!!!!!!!

« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 12:44 »
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Looking at your portfolio your income appears to be heavily dependent on a relatively small number of images.

exactly, I would stay iStock exclusive unless you are planning on growing intensely your portfolio

« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2013, 12:49 »
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Looking at those numbers.. I wish I knew about microstock back in 2005...
« Last Edit: January 10, 2013, 13:03 by soundworks »

« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2013, 13:07 »
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Looking at those numbers.. I wish I knew about microstock back in 2005...

exclusives have favored placement in search results.. It's not only about starting early..


« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2013, 18:37 »
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I have a blog with some comparative income figures from when I was exclusive plus my last two years as an indie.

http://stockcube-stockcube.blogspot.co.uk/

ShadySue

  • There is a crack in everything
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2013, 19:19 »
+1
I have a blog with some comparative income figures from when I was exclusive plus my last two years as an indie.

http://stockcube-stockcube.blogspot.co.uk/


Am I way off the mark when I look at your figures and interpret them as saying that you're earning less per month as an indie (partly because the other agecies aren't accepting your iStock images, as it seems like you have a lot fewer images in your other sites as you have on iStock), but you have peace of mind not being reliant on iStock?

Or one other interpretation might be that you've chosen not to put all of your iStock portfolio with all of your agencies (for whatever reason, e.g. splitting what images you send where to keep track of misuses).

Or ...?

« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2013, 20:35 »
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I think it was at the time RC announcement, Fotolia and possibly Dreamstime did cannister matching or other similar promotions. I cant say what is best for you, but I do wonder what some of the other agencies would respond if you contact them and ask.

« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2013, 17:36 »
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I have a blog with some comparative income figures from when I was exclusive plus my last two years as an indie.

http://stockcube-stockcube.blogspot.co.uk/


Am I way off the mark when I look at your figures and interpret them as saying that you're earning less per month as an indie (partly because the other agecies aren't accepting your iStock images, as it seems like you have a lot fewer images in your other sites as you have on iStock), but you have peace of mind not being reliant on iStock?

Or one other interpretation might be that you've chosen not to put all of your iStock portfolio with all of your agencies (for whatever reason, e.g. splitting what images you send where to keep track of misuses).

Or ...?


Sorry Sue, I have only just seen this reply.  It is true that I have a lot less images for sale at my new indie agencies than I did at iStock.  Shortly after I dropped the crown I went through a series of major life events which took priority over uploading - to have spent time on stock at this point would have been the equivalent of 'fiddling whilst Rome burns' so I only had very limited time available to devote to my new agencies.  Now when I look back on a lot of my old iStock portfolio it seems like a lot of dross to me that I can't really be bothered with - they are welcome to it to be honest!  I took the best 150 images or so and uploaded those elsewhere - it is very much a case of diminishing returns after that and I prefer to devote what time I have to shooting and uploading new images instead.  I know from discussions with iStock exclusive friends of mine that their income has been steadily declining from around about the time I left iS so I doubt I would be earning much more now had I stayed. 

I don't advocate this approach to everyone, most people will want to upload every last thing they have in the hope it will make a buck or two here or there - but I offer my full stats figures as a way to show what can be achieved with a very small portfolio across multiple agencies.  Oh, and I hope to pass my old iS exclusive income at some time this year.  ;)


 

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